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Hey guys! 8mos post-op from repeat L5/S1 microdisc; have new MRI results

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,731
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
Hey gang! I miss you. When the forums went to this new format, I didn't bother registering, which made coming and posting a little bit more involved so I just...didn't. But I could use some "spiney" company right about now.

Because of rising health costs, I have to go back to an HMO this year (I had a PPO--priceless considering it meant skipping all the referral crap to get the surgery done before I had permanent nerve damage). Knowing an HMO would not want to give me an MRI without 1) symptoms, and 2) seeing a pain specialist (can't stand them! seen three, and none of them were any use), I self-referred to my neurosurgeon and requested a new MRI just to see how the dust has settled from my 12/20/08 microdiscectomy/laminotomy/foraminotomy. For those who weren't here at the time, this was the second time around on L5/S1. First surgery came after I gave birth and essentially shattered the disc (it was a MESS); this second time around, something triggered it again and the pain was far, FAR worse than the first time. It was horrible.

Anyway, the MRI shows some arthritis ("too young for this" he said--AUGH! I'm SICK of people telling me that!) on the facet joints at L5/S1 and L4/L5. There's also a bone spur (caused by arthritis) where the severe herniation had been. The nerve has some granulated tissue around it, which may explain why I still get painless spasms on the side of my left leg.

He was happy with the results, but I realized his "great progress" is my "still not better." I need to accept I will never be "normal," and knowing I have arthritis at 35 tells me it won't necessarily be better, ever. :<

The neuro seemed very pleased with my progress, but I'm not as I want...more. More normal, please.

There's more that I will probably be posting over in Matters of the Heart as I'm struggling emotionally. But at least I could come here and update you on how I am physically.
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Comments

  • Hey darlin!!!
    So nice to see you back on the new site!!!
    Missing alot of the "oldies" lol

    Sweetie your not to young. I started having major issues at 31. I thought it was going to be the end of the world when things just kept coming at me and still are.

    I will never be "normal" again. I'v just learned to accept the new "normal" if that makes sense.

    It's a big blow to ya I know. But hopefully you keep healing from the surgery in Dec. and go forth from there.

    As you may or may not have read I am having surgery again . I did not fuse.
    So here we go again on the merry go round.

    I want you to know that we are all here for ya!!
    Alot of new nice people for you to meet.

    Lots of love and hugs
    Terri >:D< >:D< >:D<
  • Hey Terri, hey Paul! Great to "see" you again.

    Paul, my symptoms are basically stiffness and acheyness around the surgical site. There is some sharp-ish pains in that area if I sit too long (like, oh, during THREE DAYS of inservice training/back to school meetings), or if I'm on my feet too long. I was really sore this morning because I've forgotten to alternate sitting and standing this new school year (teaching 5 days now). I've gone back to my old on-my-feet-constantly approach, and it's made me tired and sore. I haven't had any *nerve* pain since I woke up in the recovery room, thankfully.

    Horseback riding-wise, I'm actually doing really well. :) I rode in three walk-trot-canter shows and did decently; my mare takes great care of me, too. One show I overdid it; I signed up for 4 w/t/c classes (plus two w/t classes) because those are the classes I *could* show in; I forgot what I *should* do! It was too much, and my body was so fatigued at the end I really made myself sore. Fatigue=sloppy riding=more concussion on the spine.

    My neuro--who has horses, so he's in the horsey-know--says it's good to ride, but be conservative. No jumping, no breaking green horses who might spook or buck, that sort of thing.

    I did another round of PT this summer--lots of sit-up and trunk strengthening. Problem is, now, I come home so exhausted from school exercising of any sore is the LAST thing I want to do. But I need to keep it up!
  • Hello,

    My name is Sara and I had a microdiscectomy on L4/L5 in 2003. In the hospital, my eyes were swollen shut from the anasthesia and my incision opened and I was in the hospital for over 8 days.........After a long recovery time, my incision healed and my leg pain went away. The only pain I felt was soreness from a long day of standing on my feet.

    As of 2006, I started getting tingling, burning and very "weird" sensations in my legs. An MRI showed I had a re-occuring herniation. I started seeing a wonderful physical therapist that specializes in lumbar manipulations, and he was making life bareable for me. I live in NYC and I live by taking the subway and walk tremendously. As of last week, I started getting weakness in my legas and my legs shake as I walk down stairs. I am very scared, as I know that a fusion is going to be in my near future. I am researching for a new neurosurgeon and orthopedic surgeon and will be starting PT again. I was very glad when I found this forum - I feel my friends and family have no idea what I am going through.

    My question is - how long can I put off surgery if I can bare it? I am willing to do anything I need to do to make surgery a last resort. In the meantime.. I hope that this nerve damage can be controlled. Any advice?

  • That's a really tough, individual question to answer...ultimately, the answer is always "It depends on your personal case." The best I can advise you is do your research on your specific condition--I mean peer-reviewed medical journal articles within the last 5 years, not something from Discover Magazine or a piece from 1992. In my case, I realized I needed to act ASAP to prevent permanent nerve damage. As it is, I might have permanent nerve damage--but it's just the little twinges, and not pain, numbness, or paralysis.

    My layman's concern would be the damage done to your nerve after a long period of insult. No idea if that's your situation, but the analogy that best helps me most is that of a garden hose. If it's kinked (i.e., a nerve "kinked" by a herniated disc), but you undo it fairly soon, it will rebound back to its original shape with no sign of the previous kink. But, left bent over a long period of time, the hose will be permanently dented, and nothing will restore its original shape.

    I understand wanting to put off the surgery as long as possible...just be absolutely sure it's to your ultimate benefit. Be your own advocate and be educated--I actually found I was more up on current spinal research than some of my doctors. :S Thankfully, my neuro's advice paralleled what I'd read--that's part of why I trust him. :)
  • and welcome to SH rox920.
    rox920 I am in the same situation that you are in that I am putting off surgery as long as possible. My doc actually told me the longer that I can wait the better as they are making progress every year in the area of the spine so I am hopefully going to make it until something is perfected. For one thing the odds of a successful fusion are not that great. You also risk being in more pain after surgery than you were before. That is not a risk that I personally am willing to take. Now, I have no impending nerve damage since I had my microD either so it is always a good idea to talk to your doc about these things. One thing that has really helped me was being fitted with a good sacral lumbar back brace. I wear it especially if I am going to be walking or moving around alot. Good luck and please both of you keep us posted on your progress.
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